I have three of the best sisters on the planet. I was lucky enough to have two of them down to visit a couple weeks ago. We are all different, but we all share an interest in food and cooking. When a holiday or party is coming up we often menu plan together. Lindsey and Sarah found this recipe for an orzo salad while they were visiting and it was the perfect side dish for the steak Ben grilled for dinner. I made it again the following weekend when my parents were in town and it was a hit yet again! This salad is simple and delicious and a great choice for a summer side dish.
This salad comes together quickly, can be prepared ahead, and can be served room temperature or cold, making it a really convenient dish. You can adjust the ingredients to your liking. I used a lot of tomatoes and herbs, with a small amount of dressing and feta. You can serve more dressing and feta on the side for guests who want more of it. You could leave out the chickpeas if you don’t care for them, but I probably wouldn’t add anymore than the can called for. The chickpea to orzo ratio seemed just about perfect.
The first time my sister made the dressing I was almost out of red wine vinegar so she subbed in some balsamic to make up the difference. The next time I made it I used all red wine vinegar and it definitely changes the dish. I think I preferred it with a little balsamic, but both ways are quite good.
I hope this makes its way to your table this summer! You will not be disappointed.
Orzo Salad with Chickpeas, Tomatoes, Herbs and Feta
From Giada DeLaurentiis
- 1 1/2 cups orzo
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups cherry, grape or other small tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on their size
- 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
- 4-6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- salt and pepper to taste
Red Wine Vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar (can sub in half for balsamic)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 teaspoons salt
- fresh ground pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Whisk vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper together in a bowl. While whisking, drizzle in the oil. Set aside. Note: You won’t use all the dressing. Save what’s left in the fridge to use on a green salad.
- Cook orzo in boiling water according to package instructions, until al dente. Drain, then transfer to a serving bowl, toss and let cool.
- Toss orzo with the beans, tomatoes, onions and herbs.
- Drizzle with some of the dressing, taste and add more until you’re pleased with the flavor.
- Toss in the feta if serving right away, otherwise cover and chill until ready to serve. Toss in the feta right before serving.